Confessions of a Community College Dean

In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

October 15, 2007 - 6:12am
In the debates over health insurance, I've rarely heard anyone make the point – obvious, to anyone who works in the public sector – that one of the drivers of cost increases for us is the number of employees we have whose spouses use our health insurance to allow them to start their own businesses or to work part-time.
October 12, 2007 - 6:26am
One of the psychological adjustments I had to learn, when moving into administration, was to lower my expectations for victory.
October 11, 2007 - 6:53am
Now that The Boy is in first grade, he's at the age where we have to start making choices about what to sign him up for.
October 10, 2007 - 7:06am
According to IHE, adjuncts at Pace University in New York City had their bargaining unit certified three years ago, but are still without a contract. The union is accusing the university of foot-dragging, and the university is claiming that 'first' contracts are harder than subsequent contracts. I find both sides' claims credible.
October 9, 2007 - 8:38am
A Western correspondent writes: I work at a community college in northern California. I was hiredfull time after working part-time for three years and am in the third yearof a four year tenure track position teaching art.
October 8, 2007 - 6:06am
When The Wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I gave some of the usual answers, and a new one. The new one: I wanted a day off the grid.A day without my job, childcare, errands, laundry, house stuff, or anything else. A day in which I could return, even if only for a little while, to the unstructured time I used to have, back in my twenties. Time alone, not 'on call,' to do with as I pleased.Bless her, she went for it. So for several hours on Saturday, I was off the grid. (A full day is simply beyond reality, at this point.)It was wonderful.
October 5, 2007 - 6:56am
One of the policies my cc works under is a rule about “ability to benefit.” Basically, it means that we can only admit students who have demonstrated the ability to benefit from college-level instruction. We usually interpret that to mean a high school diploma or GED, plus a minimal level of performance on placement tests (if they haven't already placed out with high SAT/ACT scores).
October 4, 2007 - 8:47am
A new correspondent writes: I'm a sophomore at a snooty-but-trying-not-to-be Private Liberal ArtsCollege who has recently discovered your blog and is tearing throughthe archives. I'm afraid I'm one of the folks from the kind of town(bedroom community where all the parents have grad degrees) wherepeople only go to CCs to get ahead in high school, for summer credit,or because they didn't get in anywhere else. After reading, however,I'm starting to understand the idea of getting cheap Gen-Ed credit andthen transferring.
October 3, 2007 - 5:57am
Dear Mayor Daley, I've seen some idiotic pronouncements over the years. “The insurgency is in its last throes,” “The Segway will change everything,” “Ladies and Gentlemen – Britney Spears!” Among the consolations of middle age is the realization that the worst-laid plans of mice and men at least occasionally go astray. Still, you've really outdone yourself. Even a jaded academic like myself stands awestruck.
October 2, 2007 - 6:37am
An alert reader noticed my passing comment in a post last week and wrote to ask why I would support a preference for Ph.D.'s when hiring faculty at a cc. After all, he noted, cc faculty are primarily teachers, and Ph.D.'s are really research degrees; there's no reason to believe that someone with a doctorate is necessarily a better teacher than someone with a Master's. It's a fair question.

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